Dine L.A! I am a foodie and I love to experience new restaurants and different cuisines. Asia de Cuba has been on my “must try” list for many years. Finally, my friends and I had the opportunity to finally get together and try this unique restaurant. The restaurant sits at the top of the Mondrian Hotel overlooking Los Angeles. The outdoor patio has a spacious layout with vine archways and huge terra cotta planters. Next to the dining area was an outdoor pool and cabana where all the cool L.A. crowds laid out during this warm Sunday afternoon.
The dining concept was a bit of a shock to all of us because we were only allowed to choose 2 appetizers and 3 entrees as part of the “family style” eating experience. So all of us agreed to order the calamari salad and the duck lettuce tacos. Both were delicious especially the calamari salad which consisted of bananas, cashews, fried tender calamari with a citrusy vinaigrette. Absolutely divine! The duck lettuce tacos were equally as delicious especially topped with hoisin sauce!
Unfortunately, I forgot to document the main courses! Argh, I could hit myself with my camera! However, the entrees were not memorable at all! We were all very disappointed in the portion size. You see, as per Asia de Cuba’s fine print, everything is portioned accordingly. We had 5 people in our party and we expected the entrees to feed all five people. When the fried tofu course was brought out there were only two bricks of overly saturated soy sauced fried tofus with a small side of edamame salad. The fried tofus were extremely salty that none of us at the table could take more than one bite!
Then the butter fish entree was placed in front of us 5 starving girls and there were only 2 tiny pieces of butterfish to be split between all of us! Are you kidding me Asia de Cuba?? I know that this is Dine L.A. and that the rates are reduced for this special event, but c’mon! Two tiny pieces of overly salted tofu bricks and two miniscule pieces of butterfish?
Lastly the panko crusted chicken breast with chimichurri sauce…ok, the breast did cover most of the plate, but it was so thin that you could see through it! Ok, that was an exaggeration, but you get the point. Definitely not worth the $28 for lunch or shall we say “afternoon snack” or the $15 parking fee.
We were all too happy to leave and get on with our day. But before we left….a few pictures to document our day at the swanky Mondrian Hotel!
Whew! Has it been one year already? I can’t believe how 2011 flew past me literally in a blink of an eye. I remember just one year ago when I came home from work and immediately sat down at my desk to reach out to other photographers who were pursuing the same dream that I had. You can read more of the beginning of my photography career here.
Meeting Sheila of Arkeeology Photography was an extremely important turning point in my life. Sheila gave me the encouragement and the confidence to really explore and pursue photography as a career. I feel so lucky to have met this amazing woman who not only became my friend but also my peer! You see, she invited me to be an assistant photographer for a July wedding after only hanging out for a couple of hours! How is that for trust, encouragement and support?
My next major milestone in my career as a photographer would have to be the first wedding I shot for Berny & Walter in May of 2011. I am so thankful and honored that Berny and Walter, collectively known as “the WB”, trusted me to capture their most important day of their lives! Of course, I was extremely nervous and anxious. This was my first wedding and I really had no prior experience. I didn’t know how to use a flash and I didn’t know what went on in a wedding. If I were honest, I’d tell you that I went in completely “blind” and I told myself that I would get the job done and shoot the best that I could with the knowledge that I had gained within those few short months. It also helped that “the WB” chose such a fantastic venue and had chosen beautiful decor for their reception!
After the month of May everything started moving fast forward! I started to connect with more photographers who have since become my network of trusted friends and photographers. I second shot over a dozen weddings and assisted on a handful of them. I assisted on an Indian wedding for David Tosti of Tosti Studios in Long Beach, which by the way was an amazing experience! Indian weddings…I should shoot more of them!
In the middle of all that I also took a trip to Spain with my dear friend Vanessa for 9 days! I had never wanted to visit Spain, but after I did, all I want to do is go back! The food was absolutely amazing, the architecture was so whimsical and the gorgeous people of Spain is incomparable! I absolutely loved my trip and bonding with my buddy, Vanessa! Oh the cafe…how I miss the cafe con leche and the Jamon Iberico!
To close out the year of 2011 with a bang I flew to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to second shoot a New Year’s Eve wedding with Karlo Gesner. What an unbelievable experience it was to meet Karlo and to shoot the wedding of Kelly and Josh Hummel. Thank you Karlo for trusting in me and giving me the creative freedom to shoot from my perspective.
What will 2012 have in store for me? I’m not quite sure, but I hope I continue to meet and work with wonderful people and continue to grow as an individual and as a photographer. Thank you to all the people that have come into my life this past year and for your support and encouragement!
After getting back home from a few days in Bakersfield during Christmas, I flew out the next day to spend the last week of December on the East Coast! I’ve never been on the East Coast during the December, much less during winter! As a So Cal native, I wasn’t prepared for how cold it could get…
The only thing that I purchased for the trip was this down jacket by Nike (find it here). I should have purchased thicker pants and UGGs. The jacket kept me warm enough, but when the wind kicked up and was blasting against me….YIKES! My poor legs. I only wore skinny jeans and those were as thin as tissue paper! Thankfully the weather was pretty nice during the week except for two days, the day after I arrived and the day I departed. Brrrrr!
It was also my first time I experienced snow! I mean real snow falling from above and not that man-made crap at Big Bear or Mountain High!
But my trip back East wasn’t just for relaxing, I also had a job to do! More about that coming up!
P.S. Yes, that was a horse and buggy behind me. I was in Amish Country after all. Plus, the store behind me is an Amish store and had generators to power the electricity!
I absolutely adore Christina and Chris who I ran into on a warm Saturday afternoon in Brea. You can read more about the story here. When Christina contacted me for a Christmas shoot with her new 3 month old baby girl and her in-laws, the Keller family, I was super thrilled! I captured Christina’s baby bump during the summer just a couple days from her due date and I haven’t seen her since. So being able to capture their new baby was a treat for me as well as being reconnected with the Keller family and seeing the adorable Kolby’s face again.
So excited to see Christina and Chris introducing their precious girl, Emmaline.
I love the name Emmaline too. It’s so unique and original. I especially love the huge flower headband that Christina’s relatives gifted to baby E. The gorgeous girls together! Baby E is an absolute doll! I love her with this outfit on! After the shoot, I just had to put my camera down and give Baby E a cuddle. She was so light too!The beautiful Elmore family! You can see that Baby E already has daddy wrapped around her teeny tiny fingers. That’s right! You work it Emmaline!Christina’s idea for this shoot was to get a family portrait together with all the grandkids, siblings and spouses to give to their mother Kathy and new step-father, Ron as a Christmas gift. You can see Kathy and Ron’s wedding here.Look how tiny Baby E is! I love this photo! The Keller family! Linda is Chris’ sister and was also in Kathy’s bridal party. In fact, the entire Keller family was in the bridal party. I also adore that Linda gave her two sons names that begin with a “K”. I’m partial to the letter “K” what can I say? Introducing Kyle (father), Kenny (eldest son) and Kolby, the stunningly handsome kid in front.The grandkids all together!
Linda gets to babysit Emmaline quite often, I’m so jealous! I’d love to babysit Emmaline too! Thank you Christina and Chris for inviting me into your family and allowing me to capture these precious moments in your lives!